We’ve all been victim to boring presentations. Whether they are given in-person or on the phone, nothing’s worse than feeling your brain begin to shut down while someone drones on with no end in sight and all you’re dreaming about is that Turkey Club you have in store for lunch.
Read on for our top tips to boost your presentation from forgettable to can’t-miss.
Start at the end
It sounds counterintuitive, but consider starting at the end. Offer your audience the payoff before you even begin. What’s the goal of your presentation? “By the end of my talk, you’ll be able to hold a basic conversation in French” is surely an intriguing way to get started. You’ll hold your audience’s attention if they want what you’re offering. Just make sure the offer is exciting enough that they’ll stay engaged the whole way through, and return to it throughout your presentation.
Play a game
Consider adding a fun competition to your presentation. Can you offer a prize to the person who answers the most questions correctly from facts given during your presentation? Add an interactive, participatory element such as a game or survey, asking participants to raise their hands if they agree with certain statements, for example.
Set an unexpected time limit
Everyone expects a 30-minute or hour-long presentation. Have you tried timing your presentation so you can offer “The 17-Minute Guide to Facebook Ads,” for example? Not only will your live audience find a greater ability to focus because they know when your talk will end on time, but you can repurpose your presentation for an easily sharable social media snippet. (Practice makes perfect here, though – don’t wing it and hope you make your set minute mark!)
Say it with food
Food is proven to boost memory. As John S. Allen, author of The Omnivorous Mind, writes, “the taste, smell, and texture of food can be extraordinarily evocative, bringing back memories not just of eating food itself but also of place and setting. Food is an effective trigger of deeper memories of feelings and emotions, internal states of the mind and body.” With this in mind, consider how you can bring food into your presentation. Hand out candies at the start? Send donuts to the office even if you’re presenting remotely? Bring food into your presentation and you’re sure to stand out in your guests’ long-term memories.
Get visual – skip the slides
Slide presentations can be useful, but they’re often used as a crutch for the presenter. Can you complete your presentation without slides entirely (memorized?). If you need visual aides, consider using slides sparingly or using a video, paper hand out, humorous image, or animation instead. These types of media will stick in the minds of your audience much longer than bullet points on a plain background.
Get creative with a unique presentation and your audience will be more likely to remember you and what you said. Spend time extra time thinking through what people will respond to and remember and it’s sure to pay off in more ways than one.